High Country News May 24, 1999
Eccentric desert rats and clean-cut park rangers sometimes meet in a culture clash over how to manage one of the hottest, driest and strangest places in North America - Death Valley National Park.
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Critics say that Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard's Spanish Peaks wilderness bill leaves a road unprotected - a "cherry stem" - that will benefit developer Tom Chapman, who owns a mining claim at the end of it.
Newcomers Patrick Diehl and Tori Woodward say they are being persecuted by some longtime Escalante, Utah, residents, because they are environmentalists who oppose construction of the New Wide Hollow Reservoir.
BLM fines stray cows along San Pedro in Ariz.; stray bison near Yellowstone not protected by new wildlife plan; new bus system slated for Yosemite hits speed bump; voluntary June climbing ban at Devil's Tower; plans to buy Loomis forest in Wash.
Battle Mountain Gold's plans to mine Buckhorn Mountain in Washington's Okanogan Highlands hit a snag when the Interior Dept. realizes that the mine's "waste-rock" piles will sprawl over more land than the 1872 Mining Law allows.
Solicitor John Leshy of the Interior Dept., an expert on the 1872 Mining Law, has the industry screaming and politicians in turmoil over his decision to enforce a long-neglected provision of the law, which allows only a few acres per mining claim.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is ordered to pay Bernardine Suitum $600,000 for blocking her plans to build an A-frame house on her property by Lake Tahoe.
Dixie National Forest officials cancel a controversial timber sale because it conflicts with the Forest Service's nationwide moratorium on road construction in roadless areas.
Nancy Zubiri's book, "A Travel Guide to Basque America - families, feasts and festivals," is a passionate and well-researched guide to Basque culture in the Great Basin area.
From May through October the Hansen Planetarium will host monthly star parties and indoor slide presentations at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
Many law enforcement agents at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say their program is corrupt, understaffed and underfunded.
The report "A Snapshot of Salmon in Oregon" explains the complexities of saving salmon.
A study of Clark County, Idaho, shows that tourism may not be enough to keep suffering rural economies afloat when timber and mining industries pull out of an area.
University of Colorado's 20th annual summer conference on water law will be held June 9-11 in Boulder, Colo.
The Alliance will have a community involvement celebration June 19 in Durango, Colo.
The Environmental Protection Agency hosts a free series in Denver, July 15, Sept. 16 and Nov. 11.
The 12th annual writers' workshop will be held Aug. 8-14 near Montana's Flathead Lake.
Physical anthropologist Christy Turner's controversial theories that the Anasazi practiced cannibalism leave the writer pondering the balance of good and evil that existed in the no-longer idealized past as well as in the present.
Heard Around the West
Front Sight development in Nev. to have 13 firing ranges; sheepherder fired for unlicensed dog; condor visits airstrips; Fake fish mimics how fish cope with hydropower dams; dogs in pickup controversy in Jackson, Wyo.; bag lunches in Aspen ski resorts.
Death Valley environmental specialist Dick Anderson defends the Desert Protection Act as necessary to save wild lands.
Local resident Jim Macey believes park status has actually harmed Death Valley.
The decision to put the BLM, rather than the Park Service, in charge of the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, is part of a trend toward blurring the lines among the roles of the federal land management agencies.
Local resident Kathy Goss is disillusioned by the way environmentalists pushed the Desert Protection Act.
Longtime park volunteer Reuben Scolnik says the park officials are good people but too rigid.
Death Valley Park Superintendent Dick Martin says the park rangers are heroes.
Park enemies in Congress reduced the budget for the new Mojave National Preserve to one dollar - an extreme example of the way Congress often creates parks and monuments but is reluctant to provide any money to support them.
Longtime Death Valley resident Janice Allen believes the area is not helped by its designation as a national park.
Chief ranger Scot McElveen says local people should not receive preference in a natural resource owned equally by all citizens.